Cicely Tyson, 90, Receives Kennedy Center Honors, Steps into Broadway Play 'Gin Game'

By Ian Holubiak on Jul 20, 2015 08:18 PM EDT

The legendary actress Cicely Tyson has had herself quite the month. First, she was one of six Kennedy Center honorees and, now, will return to Broadway with James Earl Jones in the two-character replay of the Pulitzer Prize-winning The Gin Game.

A 90-year-old veteran of the stage, Tyson is in her best shape to date. Having won Emmy Awards for The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman and Oldest Living Confederate Widow Tells All, when she learned she was one this year's honorees she was "breathless."

At The New York Times, the actress commented:

"I did not go speechless; I went breathless. And I just said to myself, 'My dear, you had better start breathing. Otherwise you are not going to be here to accept this incredible honor.'"

Among other honorees this year included the Eagles; the singer-songwriter Carole King; the director George Lucas; the actress Rita Moreno; and the conductor Seiji Ozawa.

As its been noted, this is the first year that six honorees received the award, which is traditionally given to a mere five.

Nonetheless, Tyson, who was born and raised in Harlem and was first discovered as a model for Ebony Magazine, is very excited to get back to the stage and has been prepping herself for a renewed career in the limelight.

Her first show, which was The Blacks in 1961, opened her to the spontaneity of performing on the stage and how the frequent performances "stimulate" her, going insofar as to say "the work itself gets me going."

Tyson, also, has received honorary degrees from Columbia University and Morehouse College. As of late, the Cicely Tyson School of Performing and Fine Arts was renamed in her honor. Tyson plays a critical role in supporting the school's creative spectrum, which serves a low-income African American community in New Jersey, according to an article on

For now, while you wait for the production to open this Fall, get down with Tyson below.

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TagsKennedy Center, Cicely Tyson, The Gin Game, James Earl Jones

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